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Sportfishing in Costa Rica…..Some Hints to Finding the Fish!

January 12, 2014

With well over 750 miles of coastline to explore, anglers coming to Costa Rica have a multitude of options to try their luck for both inshore and offshore sport fishing in this marine rich part of the world. It’s a big ocean out there, and if you don’t know what you are doing you can spend a whole day driving around burning expensive gas and finding absolutely nothing to put a bite on a hook! The main key to a successful day of offshore or inshore fishing is frankly knowing where and how to find the fish!

Naturally, there is no substitute for local expertise when it comes to finding fish, they live and breath the sport and no one

wants you to have a good fishing day more than your Captain and First Mate, so count on them for the best results! Every good captain knows where to find the fish, but if you are out for a day on your own, or if you are practicing to become the next best fishing captain for your next lifetime, you may find the following information helpful while exploring some new (or old) fishing grounds.
The first and foremost important tip for finding the fish is watch for Variation. Variation can come in several forms, some of them very obvious and others more subtle, so here are some helpful hints for you in case you are headed out for a day of great fishing action!

Los Corrientes (The currents)
The most tried and true method to finding gamefish in Costa Rica is fishing in “los corrientes”. These currents can be

spotted by a subtle change in color and in the temperature of the water. Baitfish and predators tend to be more plentiful in these currents, so an experienced captain will generally work the edges of “los corrientes” to see how the action is going before moving on to other options. When fishing from the areas of Quepos, Jaco, or Herradura, charters will find “los corrientes” about twenty-five to thirty miles offshore during peak billfish season and will generally head that direction to start their day. For that reason, it is almost always recommended to plan at least a 3/4 to Full Day of fishing to allow enough time to get into the really thick action!

Ocean Floor Geography
Invisible to the naked eye, the underwater geopgraphic structures such as canyons, reefs and other natural formations can increase

the flow of ocean currents, increasing the chance of good angling or even extreme angling in particular areas. The rapidly moving currents can trap bait fish allowing the large game fish to move in seeking an easy feeding session on the trapped bait. Similar to the seasonal currents, these fish rich currents are often found by looking for subtle changes in the water color or surface ocean temperatures. Professional and experienced Sport Fishing Charter Captains for the Costa Rican shores will always have one eye on the bottom (think GPS) and one eye on the surface looking for those subtle changes that are going to lead them to their prize.

Floating Debris
The rainy season in Costa Rica may not be the favored months for hooking the larger Gamefish (though they are prevelent year round,

so don’t let the rainy season scare you away!), but it is the hottest time of year for Dorado, including Bull Dorado which can often times come in weighing over fifty pounds! Since the heavy rains in the mountains of Costa Rica run out the local rivers located in the Quepos, Jaco and

Herradura areas, the experienced fisherman knows that fish love structure and obstacles, even temporary formations resulting from debris washing out to sea from the rain swollen rivers, so its always a good idea to head that way. Fishing deep around areas such as weed lines, floating pallets, or logs can yield a great Dorado hit, meaning a possible great dinner will be on the table that night! Other game fish can be found beneath the debris as well, so this is an area that is especially worth an anglers undivided attention!!

Underwater Structure
Wrecks and reefs provide structure or should we say a vacation home getaway for large bottom fish including Cubera Snapper and Grouper. This so called structure is also home to plankton and other small organisms that serve to attract baitfish which in turn attract the bigger game fish on the prowl for an easy meal. Keep in mind…..the main structure area may be overfished, while potential surrounding “satellite” sites around the structure can often be teaming with life as well, so keep your eyes and your fishing lines open. Larger Gamefish often hang out at these quieter satellite sites, so work that whole area for best results.

Slicks

Its a big ocean out there, but sometimes you can see obvious “slicks” on the surface, so keep your eye out for any and all oily slicks on the water’s surface since these can often be a good sign for hungry for action anglers. Big game fish such as Dorado, Tuna, Marlin and Sailfish when feeding are chasing bait fish to the surface which releases fish oils, resulting in the “slicks” that you may witness. If you are lucky, this very slick could hold the trophy catch you have been seeking!

Birds

Offshore birds are always fishing in Costa Rica, so it is always a good idea to keep an eye on the sky as well! Searching for bait pods, tuna feeding, or trolling Billfish, pay particular attention to the many Frigate Birds who are great spotters, especially those that are circling in one particular location. The experienced fishing guide knows that even a lone Frigate Bird can lead you to a trophy Tuna, Marlin or Sailfish.

With prices high and time limited during a Costa Rica visit, when fishing offshore in our gamefish rich waters of Costa Rica, the

importance of local expertise cannot be overstated. Natural underwater geographic structures are consistent and well know and local Costa Rica Fishing Guides now have the ability to record the best fishing spots to GPS, giving them the edge when fishing for big game fish in these open waters…..something someone who does not live in the area is never going to know about. In addition, an experienced captain and mate will have developed keen eyes and experience, with some experienced Captains and First Mates able to spot schooling Tuna miles away just by looking for disturbed water and many of the other hints listed above.

So on your next Sportfish outing while fishing in Costa Rica (or wherever!), keep the above hints in mind for best results, and

be sure to find out more about Pacific fish species, fishing seasons, fishing reports, and the local weather conditions beforehand by checking out our link on fishing in the Quepos, Costa Rica area via your local Costa Rica Vacation House Rental or Costa Rica Hotel, where they are happy to steer you in the right direction for an unforgettable day of Game fishing in an area that still boasts some 17 IGFA World Records! You could be the next World Record Holder!! FISH ON!!!!

Author:
Kimberly Barron, originally from Malibu, California has lived in Parismina and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica for 20 years. Starting as a certified tour guide, she spent 15 years managing fishing lodges on the Caribbean Coast and later 4* & 5* Hotels on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Currently semi-retired, Kimberly still works as the Marketing Director for Byblos Resort & Casino and owns and operates her own Costa Rica Vacation Rental Home business at Manuel Antonio Rental Homes!

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Geckos of Costa Rica…..Friend, Foe or Both?

October 22, 2013

If you are planning a visit or to live in Costa Rica, you had best make peace with the local Gecko population. Hearty little lizards, they are ubiquitous throughout the country and although they are not always a welcome sight to all, you need to rethink this as they are actually working on your behalf!

The first encounter I had with Geckos when I arrived to beautiful Costa Rica was at night as we sat quietly rocking our chairs on

the porch enjoying the warm evening tropical breezes. As we watched, the overhead lights literally became the local pub crawl for the Geckos who would happily belly up to the insect bar and make a quick meal of hapless species that sadly were lower on the food chain than these cute little lizards. Although considered nocturnal, that does not mean that these little guys don’t work around the clock, as you will likely see them any time of the day or night working on lowering the abundant tropical insect population.

Not previously having planned on my life being inhabited by a flurry of tiny meat eating mini-dinosaurs, it took a little time to get used to my new found friends and embrace their helpful presence which includes them periodically making a sound that is distinctly like they are laughing at you, as well as their constant deposit of poopy gecko presents. I’m not particularly big on that part!

It is said that having Geckos in your house is actually a good omen. Whether that is true or not is up for dispute, but the fact that these lizards are handy little pest controllers is impossible to argue after you have seen them in action.

 

These little lizards ability to scurry up a wall, hang upside down from a roof or beam, cling to all surface types including wood, glass, metal, plastic, fabric, etc, as well as maneuver on smooth, bumpy or even wet surfaces is bound to make even the biggest lizard skeptic find a new admiration for these versatile little critters.

Happy little guys, if you are sitting around and hear a surprisingly loud laughing sound…..incredibly, its the Geckos! How can you not fall in love with little lizards that laugh while they work? Its really quite astonishing the hearty chuckle that comes from these little reptiles! They are said to make this hee hee hee sound when defending their territory or for calling mates, but sometimes I suspect they are just laughing at me! (Do I sound paranoid?) Click here to hear one!

Geckos are also hearty little pro-creators. The females normally lay two eggs at a time in secure hidden places that can sometimes

include inside an old pair of shoes, between clothes not worn for some time, covey holes of walls and closets, window moldings and any number of surprise spots that the little

white eggs might tumble out of when least expected. Since they will often lay eggs in a community spot for more security, it can be quite a little scrambled egg mess when sliding an unsuspecting foot in the old shoe full of pebble sized eggs. Ew. Just another good reason (excuse?) to wear flip flops daily! Surviving Gecko eggs will take anywhere from 5-8 weeks to incubate, and these little guys can plan on a life span of around 7-9 years total.

Truly one of the most fascinating aspects of the Gecko life is their unique ability to climb and stick to just about anything! Most

people think or assume they have suction toes that allow them to cling. Although some species do, upon closer examination to many of the most common Geckos, they do not have cup shaped toes that allow them to push air out and stick. Okay, so you might think its the power of friction helping them stick to walls, However, that becomes hard to explain when they are hanging completely upside down from the roof and not making any friction. Sticky feet would seem like the most logical answer, however upon scientific study, Geckos don’t have any glands to

produce a sticky like substance, so rule that hypothesis out. So how do they do it? Scientists have wondered the same things for years and upon further study they have discovered that the magic lies in the interaction between molecules. Scientists call this the “Van der Waals Force“. Say what?? Through further examination, it would appear that each Gecko toe has a network of millions of tiny hairs (Setae) that are tipped with tiny little pads that produce

a molecular reaction that makes those microscopic little pads work like little sticky hooks. Combine that with the recent discovery that these lizards have a special secretial gland that allows them to absorb and secrete liquid at the same time and this combines to make this little fellers even stronger than a steroid soaked bodybuilder training for the Olympics! In fact, Geckos are so strong they can even hang from a single toe!! Quite a feat for such a small creature and even more so for a reptile! I wonder if we should be harnessing this knowledge and ability for more useful purposes in our normal day to day life?

If variety is the spice of life, then there is plenty of spice in Costa Rica! Geckos can be found on almost every continent except Antartica (they’re not big on cold), but Costa Rica and its warm temps are definitely the perfect tropical home for these little guys. Of the 750 species found worldwide, Costa Rica boasts 9 Gecko species within its borders. Coming in a variety of colors, sizes and habitats, the only negative thing I can say about the Geckos is they are sadly not potty trained. Depositing their little (and sometimes not so little) white & black poopy pile wherever they desire is definitely one of the negative sides of the whole

Gecko experience. Be forewarned……they have no problem and I suspect may even aim to sometimes leave their “deposit” right on your unsuspecting person. I have been poo bombed by many a Gecko over the many years I have lived in Costa Rica, and though I am not happy about it, when you watch these cute litte guys and their insect killing ability, as well as hear that enthusiastic laugh they share, its hard not to find them to still be one of the more appealing members of the reptile family!

Beyond the Gecko’s excellent insect control capabilities, they possess other distinctive characteristics that are rather endearing.

Geckos have the ability to camouflage themselves by changing their colors to help them blend into their environment while hunting for food. They also can change their colors to reflect emotions such as fear, excitement or anger. Therefore, if you see a red faced gecko….I guess it would be best to play it safe and give it a wide berth! Another rather impressive characteristic of the Gecko is their ability to detach their

tail. Got someone hot on your ass? Just detach that tail and leave them something to chew on while you escape to grow a new one. Must be handy, and crooks would love that ability! Lastly, the third amazing characteristic is the ability to change the aperture of the pupil of the eye while in bright

sunlight to be a single vertical row of pinhole openings making the iris resemble the color of their skin. In fact, the majority of Geckos actually lack eyelids and instead have a transparent membrane which they lick to clean. They also possess an incredible night vision capability with their eyes being some 350 times more sensitive to light than the human eye. Pretty handy abilities for increasing their overall Gecko warrior abilities and pretty cool stuff for a mini reptile looking to survive in the Costa Rican jungles (or in my house)!!

So are you impressed yet? Well you should be, as these little creatures have managed to evolve and perfect their talents to become some of the most efficient jungle inhabitats to be found! So on your next vacation, be sure to watch around your Costa Rica hotels, homes, sodas or jungle areas for the opportunity to observe, befriend and photograph your new little lizard companions. Not only will they laugh along with you, but they will make every effort to keep you mosquito bite free! So it just goes to show….it’s not just the “Ticos” that are friendly, their lizards are friendly too!! Now that surely is another sign of Pura Vida!!

Author:
Kimberly Barron, originally from Malibu, California has lived in Parismina and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica for 20 years. Starting as a certified tour guide, she spent 15 years managing fishing lodges on the Caribbean Coast and later 4* & 5* Hotels on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Currently semi-retired, Kimberly still works as the Marketing Director for Byblos Resort & Casino and owns her own Costa Rica Vacation Rental Homes business, Manuel Antonio Rental Homes.

Soursop (aka: “Guanabana”)…. a Sour name for a Sweet Cancer Fighting Costa Rican Fruit!

May 26, 2013

Circulating around the internet these days, this latest “favorite” tree has been making headlines everywhere touting it’s remarkable cancer curing properties discovered and actually being proven in scientific studies. In case you haven’t seen the articles, I’m referring to the Soursop Tree (Annona muricata), known in Spanish as the Guanabana (say that 3 times fast!). The Guanabana fruit is one of the most delicious and odd looking tropical fruits you will commonly find here in Costa Rica. Guanabana fruits are easily recognized in local farmers markets with their large heart-shaped form, rich green color, spiny skin and a white, creamy pulp peppered with elongated, black seeds. The pulp when eaten straight from the fruit is a bit sour to the taste buds…thus earning the name “Soursop”, but with a little added sweetener, this tropical gem blends into a creamy, fruity smoothie that rivals a fattening a much less healthy milkshake. It is also commonly used in ice creams, yogurts and other tasty delicacies.

The Soursop Tree is a really quite small considering the size of each fruit it produces. Growing up to 10 meters (a large specimen), this can make this non-descript tree ideal for a home garden orchard. The young branches, as well as the trunk of the tree eventually bear pale yellow, conical flowers which later turn into the large green fruits. The ovate, glossy leaves have a peculiar odor when rubbed and have proven to be valuable as a natural medicine in both ancient and now modern herbal remedies. In early times, the leaves of the Guanabana were used for tea to reduce swelling of the mucus membranes or to treat liver disease. The black seeds were often crushed and used as a vermifuge to help with parasite infestation. All parts of the tree were also ground and used as a sedative or as an anti-convulsant. The fruit was used to reduce joint pain, to treat heart conditions, as a sedative, to induce labor, or to reduce coughing or flu symptoms, just to name a few of its many benefits.

Thrifty home gardeners can start their own Guanabana trees simply by saving the seeds from a fruit you buy at the local market. Plant one oblong seed per planter filled with fertile soil and sit back and relax. Germination can take as much as 2 weeks or more,
so just be patient and keep the container watered several times a week. Once the seedlings begin to emerge when they are around 30cm, you will want to transplant them to a more permanent place in the yard. These trees do well on a wide range of soils, as long as good drainage is present. It takes a Guanabana tree some 5 years before it can begin to produce fruit, so you need to be in for the long haul when planting this unique tree. It’s important to protect the trees and fruits from disease and insect attacks, so it is not uncommon to see these fruits covered with loose recycled plastic bags as they mature to protect the fruits from fruit flies without the use of harmful insecticides, as well as in some cases, citric oil is rubbed on the bark of the trees to help protect them from other diseases.

The leaves, roots and bark of the Soursop have also been studied extensively by some of the more prestigious institutions known for their cancer research departments. These institutions such as the Health Sciences Institute, Journal of Natural Products, Catholic University of South Korea, Purdue University, National Cancer Institute, Cancer Research UK have definitively concluded that the Guanabana contains special organic compounds called “annonaceous acetogenins”, which effectively target and kill malignant cells in 12 types of cancer, including colon, breast, prostate, lung and pancreatic cancer. These acetogenins are inhibitors of enzyme processes that are only found in the membranes of cancerous tumor cells, and have no toxicity to healthy cells. These means they not only attack the bad cells and leave the good ones to do their work, but the natural compounds in Guanabana lessen the side effects like nausea, hair and weight loss during the treatment. The tree compounds have proven to be up to 10,000 times stronger in slowing the growth of cancer cells than Adriamycin, a commonly used chemotherapeutic drug, which is pretty impressive stuff!

These studies have confirmed the anti-tumor, anti-parasitic, insecticidal, and anti-microbial activities of Soursop, which indigenous people discovered centuries ago and yet, the US government seems to dispute the documented findings!

As rapidly as excitement had skyrocketed about the Soursop, skeptics rushed to denounce the “cancer cure” as a fraud and scam afflicting the needy, the desperate, and the gullible. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) swooped in to fine and close various businesses that had unwisely reported an ability to cure cancer. And in September 2008, Medical News Today publicized the FTC’s actions, quoting its director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, Lydia Parkes, as saying: “There is no credible scientific evidence that any of the products marketed by these companies can prevent, cure, or treat cancer of any kind”.
Is this a Big Pharma conspiracy or what? We need to focus on not just enjoying this delicious fruit, but helping people with cancer as well!! So when if Costa Rica, if you see this fruit at your Costa Rica hotel, or have the chance to buy “Guanabana”, “Soursop”, “Graviola”, “Pawpaw” or whatever it may be called in
that part of the world at a local market, jump on the opportunity! Not only will you get a sweet tasty surprise, but you may end up eventually helping the world come up with a natural remedy that could lead to lessen the suffering cancer patients currently must endure! Now that is Pura Vida!

On a lighter note…….

Cancer fighting qualities aside, next time you find the opportunity to taste Guanabana, I can personally recommend its sweet pleasures! Be it fresh, yogurt, ice cream, natural juice or a delicious smoothie, its unique tropical flavors will win you over immediately!

Watch this video for more information on how to prepare the fruit, as well as for the sheer entertainment!
“RasKitchen”, the Rasta Mon of cooking and the benefits of Soursop. He speaks English, but we still needed the subtitles! “Good for your dick mon!” I love at the very end when the gringo really does not want to take a sip of the Guanabana juice, as I think he just watched Rasta Mon prepare it in less than sanitary conditions. It’s all good “mon”, “Good for the Dick”!! Now that is Pura Vida at its best!!

CLICK FOR VIDEO HERE!

Author:
Kimberly Barron, originally from Malibu, California has lived in Parismina and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica for 20 years. Starting as a certified tour guide, she spent 15 years managing fishing lodges on the Caribbean Coast and later 4* & 5* Hotels on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Currently semi-retired, Kimberly still works as the Marketing Director for Byblos Resort & Casino and Hotel Makanda by the Sea.

Sources:
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/side-effects/201107/fighting-cancer-science-and-nature
http://www.christopherlane.org
http://degraviola.com/guanabana
http://www.blackherbals.com/graviola.htm

Quepos, Costa Rica….once home to the fierce Quepoa Indians!

May 14, 2013

Quepos acquired its name from the Quepoa Indians, which derived from the Boruca tribes that migrated northward from Columbia towards the end of the first millinium. The great conquistador, Juan Vasquez de Coronado, declared the Quepoa Indians as the ¨most beautiful people seen in these indies¨.
The Quepoa Indians were well respected as fierce fighters, and are said to have pilaged great quantities of gold from the Caribbean tribes of this country in their reign as relentless warriors. It is said that these tribes lived the majority of the year near the foothills of the Naranjo and Savegre Rivers for the purpose of more productive farming, while in the rainiest months they inhabited the coastal hills of Manuel Antonio, concentrating around Quepos Point.
The earliest recorded European presence in Manuel Antonio dates back to around 5 years after the famous Spanish explorer Balboa discovered the Pacific Ocean in the early 1500´s. Explorer Juan Ponce de Leon, who would later be credited with discovering Florida in his quest to find the fountain of youth, arrived to the shores of Costa Rica, and more specifically the Manuel Antonio area in the year 1519. Upon his arrival to our shores, his flotella encountered a large presence of fearsome taunting Quepoa Indian Warriors lining the beach, and wisely declined to make landfall.

To this day, there continues a legend that a hidden treasure of some seven hundred tons of gold, silver, pearls, emeralds and other jewels exists somewhere in the territories that the Quepoa Indians occupied. Though this has never been confirmed, and obviously the treasure has never been discovered, infamous English privateer John Clipperton spent a good part of the late 1600´s exploring the area and befriending the Quepoa Tribes in his attempts to claim this immense fortune. Upon his death in 1722, Clipperton still believed the largest world treasure existed in our area, but was unsuccessful in his quest to claim it.
In the year 1746, after many years of Spanish rebellions, disease brought on by the European settlers, and warfare between rivaling Indian Groups, the Quepoa tribe was forced into extinction. The whereabouts of the legendary treasure, estimated to be worth billions of dollars at today’s currency still remains a mystery!

The actual town of Quepos first came to modern prominence as a busy shipping port for exporting bananas for the United Fruit
Company. After years of devastating disease devastating the banana industry, this crop was scrapped and the agriculture fields were converted to the 40,000 plus hectares of African Palm trees that you see today. Prized for the diverse properties the oil produces,
African Palm oil is now used as bio-fuel, in creams & cosmetics, soaps, margarines, as well as cooking and industrial oils. Although this crop continues to be a major economic force in our area, it helped fuel the decline of Quepos as a major shipping port, as the smaller fruit is much easier to transport and refine locally.

Surprisingly, even as late as the 1950´s basic communication between Quepos and the rest of the country was a challenge. Roads were
almost non-existent, and passage by mule, donkey, horse or oxen cart was for many years the norm for the locals that lived in the area. In the 1940´s the president of Costa Rica, Rafael Angel Calderon declared Quepos and Parrita districts of Puntarenas, and it was at that time that they started work on a major road to San Jose, but that took many years to complete. There was a small railroad between Quepos and Parrita, but it was not widely used for the public and more often at low tide airplanes would land on the beach in front of the main street in front of what now stands as our sea wall. This is how they accommodated the first tourists, which arrived mostly during the dry months of January, February and March, and whom at that time were almost exclusively Costa Rican. It was not until the 70´s that the African Palm industry prospered enough that highways became an absolute necessity, and the first telephone arrived to the Quepos area.

Quepos, home to numerous hotels, restaurants and other tourist operations, it serves as the gateway to Manuel Antonio National Park and it’s even wider variety of hotels, is now better known for it´s World Class Sportfishing, claiming some 17 IGFA records!

Author:
Kimberly Barron, originally from Malibu, California has lived in Parismina and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica for 20 years. Starting as a certified tour guide, she spent 15 years managing fishing lodges on the Caribbean Coast and later 4* & 5* Hotels on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Currently semi-retired, Kimberly still works as the Marketing Director for Byblos Resort & Casino and Hotel Makanda by the Sea.

Costa Rica’s Vultures…. so prevalent they could be the National Bird!

January 29, 2013

Travel anywhere in Costa Rica and you’re bound to see several species of Vultures soaring high overhead. Known in Spanish as “Zopilotes”, whether it is the Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus), the Turkey Vulture (Carthartes aura), or the surprisingly majestic King Vulture (Sarcoramphus papa), there is no way you can spend a day in Costa Rica without spotting large flocks of these ghastly yet at times elegant birds.

Black Vulture
Field marks: Large, heavy-bodied, carrion-eating, black bird, with short tail and broad plank-like wings tipped with white. Wingspan: 5′ Length: 2′-2’4″ W-L ratio: 2.3:1 Weight: 4.5-6 lbs

Turkey Vulture
Field marks: Large, dark brown, heavy-bodied and small-headed, carrion-eating bird, with a longish tail and two-toned underwings. Wings held above the horizontal in a strong “V.” Wingspan: 5’6″ Length: 2’2″-2’8″ W-L ratio: 2.4:1 Weight: 3.5-5 lbs

Black and Turkey Vulture Factoids:
• Black & Turkey Vultures belong to the family Cathartidae, a group of 7 species of New World Vultures.
• Black Vultures, rarely flap in flight using broad plank-like wings that allow them to soar in small wind thermals.
• Black Vultures search for carrion exclusively by sight, often following Turkey Vulture’s to take advantage of these bird’s acute sense of smell to find food.
• Black & Turkey Vultures sometimes take live prey.
• Black & Turkey Vultures usually roost together in family units.
• Black Vultures nest on the ground and on the floors of abandoned buildings.
• The range of Black Vultures has been expanding northwards since the 1950s.
• Most scientists now believe Turkey vultures and Black vultures are more closely related to storks than to other raptors.
• Turkey Vultures get their name from their red, featherless heads resembling Wild Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo).
• Turkey Vultures may be more closely related to storks than other raptors.
• Turkey Vultures are the most migratory of all of the New World Vultures.
• The Turkey Vulture’s plumage is dark brown, not black.
• When flying, Turkey Vultures, hold their wings in a “V” above their backs, creating a slight dihedral that stabilizes their flight.
• Turkey Vultures often roost in groups of several hundred birds.
• Turkey Vultures communicate vocally in hisses and grunts.
• Nestling Turkey Vultures projectile vomit to defend themselves.
• Turkey Vultures have weak feet, and are unable to carry off their carrion.

This is so exciting, please tell me more Vulture Facts!
Along with the Turkey Vulture, the Black Vulture is one of the most abundant New World vultures. Prevalent in North America, vultures also breed throughout Central

America and much of South America. Black Vultures are typically found in open or partly forested habitats, often in close proximity to human activity. Traditional communal roost sites can consist of 100’s of birds, some of these sites are used for decades at a time, often occupied year-round, especially in areas of temperate climates such as Costa Rica. Roosts are thought to play an important role in the social lives of vultures as a place for juveniles and adults to interact and as a staging area for foraging groups to assemble. Turkey Vultures and Crested Caracaras often roost together with Black Vultures.

Identification
Black Vultures have featherless dark gray to black heads and necks and are ugly as hell. They appear completely black when perched, however obvious white patches near

the wingtips are clearly visible when in flight and you will see these hideous birds everywhere. The gray legs and toes often are stained whitish with excrement, oh my…..isn’t that nice. Adult Black Vultures have dark bills with bone-colored tips and their heads and the upper half of their necks are dark gray and covered with wrinkles (hey, wait! I think I’m starting to look like a vulture myself!). Unlike Turkey Vultures, an easy distinction between the two species is Black Vultures hold their wings flat when soaring, rock less, and flap more frequently. The Turkey Vulture are masters at soaring above the canopy, rarely flapping their wings and holding them in a “V” shape, while rocking side-to-side, skillfully using the shifting wind thermals to do the work for them.

Breeding Habits
Unlike the Black Vultures, Turkey Vultures prefer open and forested habitats, typically avoiding urban and suburban areas. In the Americas, both species breed in farmlands, rangelands, forests, and low-elevation mountains. Generally, it only eats the skin and harder parts of the tissue of its meal. Vultures are monogamous and pairs

are believed to mate for life, now isn’t that romantic? In fact, family members associate more closely with each other than with other individuals over their lifetime. I guess carrion is like comfort food and brings families together! Vultures do not build a nest, instead laying their eggs in rocky crevices, caves, tree cavities, hollow logs, and such. Vultures though gawky on the ground, perform

incredible aerial displays during courtship, with males circling the females with their necks extended, exhaling loudly and making chasing and diving maneuvers. A successful courtship eventually results in two eggs, which are then incubated for 32-45 days. This romantic couple works together incubating the young, with both parents also sharing the feeding of regurgitated food to their young as often as 20 times a day. Gosh, this romance just keeps getting better! The happy little family generally remains in close contact until the next breeding season, at which time the parents chase their offspring away from the nest site…..their done, time to move on. After leaving their parents, juveniles enter a wandering stage while learning how to search for carcasses on their own. I wonder what the learning curve on that one is?

Feeding Habits
Black Vultures are dirty little opportunistic aerial scavengers. Feeding on carrion of all types and sizes, unlike the Turkey Vultures, this species does not have a keen sense of smell and relies entirely on visuals to locate food. Black Vultures

typically fly at higher altitudes than Turkey Vultures and monitor the behavior of predators and other scavengers in order to find their food. They frequently follow successful Turkey Vultures to carcasses, then aggressively chase them away and taking it as their own. Large numbers of Black Vultures quickly

gather at food sources preferring fresh carcasses, but consuming decaying meat as well. Occasionally Black Vultures capture live prey, most of which are young, weak, or small sickly mammals or birds. Black Vultures also scavenge through trash, feed on vegetable matter including sweet potatoes, pumpkins, coconuts, and in Costa Rica, the fruit of oil palms. Because Turkey Vultures find food using their sense of smell as well as by sight, they are able to locate carcasses on the forest floor beneath dense forest canopies and are better able to rely on fresh food, but will resort to decaying meat when necessary. Generally, the King Vulture actually prefers to eat the skin and harder parts of the tissue for its meal.

Less Common Vultures of Costa Rica
The King Vulture (Sarcoramphus papa) is a colorful large bird found in Central and South America. This vulture lives predominantly in tropical lowland forests stretching

from southern Mexico to northern Argentina, and does not frequent the coastal zones as much as the other vulture species. Large with a predominantly white body, the King Vulture has gray to black ruff, flight, and tail feathers. The head and neck are bald, with the skin color varying, including vivid colors of yellow, orange, blue, purple and red. The King Vulture has a very noticeable yellow fleshy caruncle on its beak. This vulture is a hearty scavenger with an exceptionally strong beak and it often is the one to make the initial cut into a fresh carcass. King Vultures have been known to live for up to 30 years in captivity, I’m hoping at a zoo and not as someone’s ghastly avian pet!

Ecology and behavior
The King Vulture can soar effortlessly for hours, only flapping its wings on occasion. While in flight, they hold their wings flat only slightly raising the tips, holding their small heads low, they often appear headless while in flight. These vultures have also been observed engaging in tandem flight which is thought to be a

part of their courtship behavior. Only one or two birds generally descend to feed at a carcass, although up to ten or so may gather if there is a significant amount of food. One of the truly most disgusting features of this species of vulture, is it’s said to use urohidrosis, (defecating on its legs) to lower its body temperature. How pleasant, glad to know that. The King Vulture actually lacks a voice box, (wish my husband did sometimes), although it can make low croaking noises and wheezing sounds while in courtship and bill-snapping noises when threatened. The only natural predators for the King Vulture are snakes, which will prey upon the vulture’s eggs and young or large cats such as jaguars, which may surprise and kill an adult vulture while feeding at a carcass. Predators? Defecating on the legs? Gross, I’m not hanging out with these guys!

Breeding
The reproductive behavior of the King Vulture in the wild is poorly known. From

mostly captivity they have learned that King Vultures mate for life and generally lay a single unmarked white egg in a nest in the hollow of a tree. To ward against potential predators, the vultures keep their nests foul-smelling. The parents share incubating and brooding duties until the chick is about a week old, with the chicks later taking their first flights at about three months of age.
Because of its large size and beauty, the King Vulture is an attraction at zoos around the world and is a popular photo opportunity when spotted around Costa Rica.

So there you have it! Most everything you ever wanted or didn’t want to know about Vultures! Those majestic birds you’ve been watching fly around your Costa Rica Hotel or Costa Rica Vacation Rental Home each day, may actually have been disgusting flesh eating Vultures! Ew, that’s gross! If truth be told though, these birds can actually be quite friendly and comical acting. Some have no fear to waddle right up to your feet if you leave them some fresh food. Besides, there is no arguing that these beasts serve their purpose in the food chain and natural ecology by providing a natural cleaning up of disgusting road kill. So people!! Let’s embrace this important species and thank Mother Nature for the vultures!
Okay, so maybe we aren’t quite ready to make them the National Bird yet, but have you ever seen Costa Rica’s National Bird? Beyond it’s beautiful song, it’s not particularly impressive! Pura vida!!

Author:
Kimberly Barron, originally from Malibu, California has lived in Parismina and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica for 20 years. Starting as a certified tour guide, she spent 15 years managing fishing lodges on the Caribbean Coast and later 4* & 5* Hotels on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Currently semi-retired, Kimberly still works as the Marketing Director for Byblos Resort & Casino and Hotel Makanda by the Sea.

Sources:
http://www.hawkmountain.org/
http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Vulture
http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Vulture

Costa Rican Guaro! Belly up to the Bar and Party!!

May 29, 2011

Popular throughout Central American countries, though not readily available in the USA, “Guaro” is a distilled liquor originating in Costa Rica. Manufactured from sugar cane juice, Guaro has a high alcohol content, clear coloring and a strong but slightly sweet flavor. Most commonly mixed with fruit juice or soda (Fresca being a favorite), few people choose to consume this liquor in straight shots. Referred to as an “aguardiente,” the words “agua” and “ardiente” when combined translate to basically mean Guaro is “burning water”. A fairly accurate description if you ask me! Once considered the “moonshine” or “chicha” of Central America, Guaro is no longer a product of homemade stills, but an almost patriotic part of Costa Rican popular culture.

History:
In an attempt to end the kitchen sink production of clandestine “Guaro”, the Costa Rican government approved the manufacturing and eventual bottling of the clear liquor by Costa Rica’s National Liquor Factory (la Fábrica Nacional de Licores or “FANAL”) back in 1851. At that time it was sold in barrels via “liquor agencies”, with the clients providing their own container. Starting in 1980, a new division was created in FANAL, with “Cacique” becoming the official Guaro brand name in Costa Rica. With it’s distinctive red label and iconic Indian Chief (that’s what “Cacique” means….Chief), Cacique quickly became the more commonly used name, since “Guaro” can often times refer to almost any distilled spirit. Easily one of Costa Rica’s most popular “beverages”, bottles of Cacique line the shelves of every Costa Rican grocery store and bar in even the most remote corner of this country.

Characteristics:
FANAL originally decided to market this popular liquor in 1 liter glass bottles containing a lower alcoholic content then vodka, but with the continued growth in popularity, they later began providing consumers with the options of 750 ml glass bottles and 365 ml “pachitas”….or plastic bottles (the handy travel size!). FANAL takes great pride in producing a high quality product of licensed ethyl alcohol, guaranteeing a high purity for “safe” drinking. The brand has proven so popular, that over the years it hs expanded from only 60 proof Guaro Cacique (with the red label) to the 70 proof Cacique Superior (with the black label), the latter offering an even higher purity of “rubbing alcohol”via further filtered purification through activated carbon and increasing not only it’s purity, but perfecting it’s mostly neutral aroma. They also produce a lesser know black label, offering a whopping 80 proof and referred to as “Super Caňita” (Super Cane)!

Origin of the Name:
The present name of Guaro as “Cacique” (or “Chief”) is thought to originate from FANAL. Since several circumstances. Between 1977 and 1980 an excavation made by the Costa Rica National Museum revealed on of the largest indigenous settlements to date near the town of Grecia on land that occupied by the liquor had remained for decades as one of Costa Rica’s most enduring and popular products, indigenous societies considered their “leaders” to be their “Chiefs”, thus the name “Cacique” stuck. Often times referred to as “Cuatro Plumas” in joking reference to the Four Feathers on the chief’s headress found on the ubiquitous red labels, just saying the word “Guaro” brings smiles to almost every Tico’s face!

Guaro Recipes & Purchasing:
Over the years, Guaro’s popularity has reached international proportions. New companies have opened making their own brands of “pirated” Guaro recipes and attempting to market this “poor man’s vodka”, as the newest upscale spirit. No worries though!! With the ease of the internet you can now buy the “real” Costa Rican Guaro and not at over inflated prices! Check out the website www.guaroliquor.com for puchasing details, as well as their page dedicated to some of the best Guaro recipes I have found. (Not that I haven’t invented a few of my own over the years!)

Now, some 160 years later, Guaro continues to be as popular as ever! In fact, this liquor is such an integral part of Costa Rican culture that a recent exhibit at the Museos del Banco Central (Central Bank Museum) featured one work representing three icons of daily Costa Rican life; Cacique Guaro, a Soccer Ball and a representation of the celebrated Black Virgin!

For those of you lucky enough to be visiting beautiful Costa Rica, a little word of warning….. the pronunciation of “water” has been known to be misinterpreted as “guaro” by eager waiters not completely versed in the English language. This has led to incidences where thirsty American tourists having asked their waiter for a glass of water and the waiter, ever so happy that the tourists wanted to try his country’s famous Guaro returned from the kitchen with a glass of the clear beverage. The tourist innocently takes a generous swallow and have experienced a coughing and sputtering surprise in Costa Rican thirst-quenching!! Consider yourself warned!!

Author:
Kimberly Barron, originally from Malibu, California has lived in Parismina and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica for 20 years. Starting as a certified tour guide, she spent 15 years managing fishing lodges on the Caribbean Coast and later 4* & 5* Hotels on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Currently semi-retired, Kimberly still works as the Marketing Director for Byblos Resort & Casino and Hotel Makanda by the Sea.

Sources:
http://www.fanal.co.cr/inicio.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cacique_Guaro
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guaro_(drink)
http://www.guaroliquor.com/home/index.php

Earth Hour in Costa Rica! Spend an Hour in the Dark and Help Save our Planet!!

March 13, 2011

Earth Hour is driven by the global community’s will to protect the planet we share. Earth Hour’s exponential growth – from a single-city initiative in 2007 to a global movement across 128 countries in 2010 to now go beyond the hour in 2011 – is indicative of the growing desire for a cleaner, healthier world that is gathering momentum by the hour. Across the globe plans are underway to make Earth Hour 2011 a bigger event than ever!

At 8.30pm on Saturday 26 March 2011, Earth Hour will mark a moment of global contemplation to go beyond the hour; a collective commitment by individuals throughout the world to be the ongoing change they want to see in it.

At Hotel Byblos Resort and Casino, a luxury boutique hotel in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, we too will be participating in this worldwide event. We cordially invite you to join us for our “Green Drinks” cocktail hour, followed by a special “Earth Hour” themed candlelit dinner to be held poolside at our award-winning Bistro Restaurant featuring specialty dishes focusing on sustainability and our ongoing commitment to minimize our Costa Rican Hotel’s carbon footprint.

EARTH HOUR: FAQ’s
1. What is Earth Hour?
Earth Hour is a global grass-roots movement encouraging individuals, businesses and governments around the world to take positive actions for the environment, and celebrating their commitment to the planet by switching off their lights for one designated hour. Earth Hour 2011 aims to show the actions that people, businesses and governments world-wide are taking to reduce their environmental impact. The highlight of Earth Hour 2011 will see the world’s most iconic landmarks go dark for one designated hour, as hundreds of millions of people transcend race, religion, culture, society, generation and geography, switching off their lights in a global celebration of their commitment to protect the one thing that unites us all – the planet.
2. When does Earth Hour take place?
Earth Hour 2011 will be held on Saturday March 26 between 8.30PM and 9.30PM in your local time zone.
3. What does Earth Hour ask people to do?
Earth Hour encourages individuals, businesses and governments to use Earth Hour as a platform to showcase to the world what measures they are taking to reduce their environmental impact. Earth Hour asks everyone to take personal accountability for their impact on the planet and make behavioural changes to facilitate a sustainable lifestyle.
4. Does this mean during Earth Hour I have to turn off everything in my home and use absolutely no electricity?
No. The main point of Earth Hour is to show the world that a solution to the world’s environmental challenges is possible if we work on them together – together our actions add up! Earth Hour only asks that you turn off non-essential lighting, safety and security lighting should remain on.
5. How long has Earth Hour been going for?
Earth Hour began in one city in 2007 when more than two million individuals and two thousand businesses in Sydney, Australia turned off their lights for one hour on Saturday 31 March 2007 to take a stand on climate change. In the space of three short years Earth Hour grew to become the greatest environmental action in history with individuals, businesses and governments across 128 countries coming together for Earth Hour 2010 to show the path to a sustainable future is a collective journey.
6. Isn’t switching the lights off dangerous? What about public safety?
Earth Hour only asks people to turn off the non-essential lights for one hour – not lights that affect public safety. Earth Hour is also a celebration of the planet so it’s important to enjoy the moment in a safe environment.
7. What lights can be safely switched off?
That is a decision that has to be made individually but usually the overhead lights in rooms (whether it is your house, hotel or a business), outdoor lighting that does not impact safety, computers, decorative lights, neon signs for advertising, televisions, desk lamps, the list goes on and on…. You are encouraged to make sure you have alternative light sources handy before Earth Hour starts, like candles, torches or flashlights.
8. What candles should I use for my Earth Hour event?
If you plan on burning candles during Earth Hour please choose natural, not petroleum-based products. If you’re using candles, make sure you take care. Please follow these tips:
• Candles should only be used under adult supervision.
• Candles should never be left unattended.
• Candles should be kept away from children and pets.
• Extinguish candles before going to sleep.
• Keep candles away from flammable liquids and gas-combustible materials.
• Candles should be kept clear of any combustible materials such as paper, curtains and clothing.
• Candles should not be placed in windows as they can be blown over. Blinds and curtains can also catch fire.
• Candles should be placed on a stable, dry, heat-resistant surface away from drafts.
9. What is Earth Hour’s position on safety?
Earth Hour wants everyone to be absolutely safe and never to turn off any lights or power that would in any way compromise the safety of any individual in a private or public space.
10. Will my city go completely black?
Earth Hour is not a black out. It is a voluntary action by its participants to show their commitment to an act of change that benefits the planet. For many businesses in city skyscrapers or for many government buildings, the lights are turned off at the end of the business day the Friday before Earth Hour. So Earth Hour is more of a fade-out in some ways than a black-out.
11. If everyone turns their lights back on at the same time will there be a power surge?
People celebrate Earth Hour in a variety of ways for different lengths of time, with many continuing to keep their lights off well beyond the designated hour. Therefore, it is highly improbable that everyone will switch their lights back on simultaneously.
12. Is Earth Hour an annual event?
Though Earth Hour began as a public statement for action on climate change, it has come to symbolize a commitment to broader environmental solutions. Earth Hour’s ‘lights out’ campaign will continue to evolve in accordance with the environmental concerns of a growing global community driven by the pursuit of a better, healthier world. Earth Hour, is as much a celebration of the planet as it is a commitment to environmentally sustainable action, so as long as the global community wants to share a unified moment of celebration and contemplation of our planet, 8.30PM – 9.30PM on the last Saturday of March will always be Earth Hour.
13. Why is Earth Hour held on the last Saturday of March?
The last weekend of March is around the time of the Spring and Autumn equinoxes in the northern and southern hemispheres respectively, which allows for near coincidental sunset times in both hemispheres, thereby ensuring the greatest visual impact for a global ‘lights out’ event.
14. How many cities/countries/landmarks took part in Earth Hour 2010?
4616 cities, towns and municipalities took part in Earth Hour 2010 across 128 countries, including 89 national capitals and 9 of the world’s 10 most populated cities.
15. What is the criteria for registering city, town or municipality participation in Earth Hour 2011?
For a city, town or municipality to be officially recognized as a participant in Earth Hour 2011 it must meet at least one of the following three criteria:
1. Have the official support of its governing authority. (e.g. Governor or Mayor)
2. Have confirmed participation of a significant landmark or icon.
3. Have the support of an official Earth Hour ambassador.
16. What does a commitment to Earth Hour mean?
By registering to Earth Hour 2011, individuals, communities and businesses are making a commitment to turn their lights off for an hour at 8.30PM on Saturday 26 March in acknowledgement of an act they will undertake for the benefit of the planet. Participation in Earth Hour is a sign of your commitment to show leadership amongst your friends, family, colleagues and competitors in finding solutions to our environmental challenges by adopting environmentally sustainable lifestyle habits and business practices on an ongoing basis.
17. Who can participate?
Anyone! Anyone who wants to unite with the global community in a worldwide celebration of the planet; anyone who believes a solution to our environmental challenges is possible through the aggregate of our actions.
18. What energy/carbon reductions have resulted from Earth Hour in previous years?
Earth Hour does not purport to be an energy/carbon reduction exercise, it is a symbolic action. Therefore, we do not engage in the measurement of energy/carbon reduction levels.
19. How can I help with Earth Hour in more ways than just turning out my lights?
http://www.earthhour.org/widget/vote/Widget_wLogos.htm
For Earth Hour 2011 we are asking people, businesses and governments to go beyond the hour, to make a commitment to an act of ongoing change that benefits the planet. There are limitless things you can do on top of switching off your lights to take Earth Hour beyond the hour. Have a look at the ‘How to…’ guides page on this website for some ideas.
20. What does Earth Hour hope to achieve?
Earth Hour aims to unite communities around environmental issues by creating a forum where individuals can discuss ecological resolutions with like-minded people, by creating a channel though which businesses can exchange sustainable practices with their competitors, by building a platform that enables governments to showcase environmental leadership, and by ultimately establishing a global network of individuals, corporations and governments who are committed to the collective resolve of tackling the world’s environmental challenges.
21. How is Earth Hour 2011 different from 2010?
Earth Hour 2010 saw individuals, communities, businesses and governments across the globe come together in a moment of unity for the planet, to show the world what can be done through collective action. Earth Hour 2011 asks participants to change by committing to an act that benefits the environment and celebrating their commitment to the planet with the people of the world by participating in Earth Hour. Earth Hour 2011 is not the culmination of a climate campaign. It’s the start of a journey of behavioural change for individuals, sustainable practice for businesses, and leadership of governments on the path to global environmental reform.
22. Aren’t you using a lot of electricity and resources to promote this event?
Earth Hour operations are run in a cost effective manner and apply donors’ funds according to the highest standards of accountability and sustainability. We also consider and/or incorporate other climate or environmental issues as determined by the Earth Hour team and its partners.
23. Whose idea was Earth Hour?
Earth Hour came from a think tank initiated by Earth Hour Executive Director and Co-Founder, still a degree of scepticism and denial about the issue of climate change. Earth Hour came as the inspiration to rally people to the reality of climate change and start a dialogue about what we as individuals can do to help address the greatest problem facing our planet today.
24. What is Earth Hour’s relationship with WWF? Does WWF own Earth Hour?
WWF Australia co-founded Earth Hour in Sydney in 2007, facilitating Earth Hour’s rapid worldwide growth through its connection to WWF’s global network. With a presence in more than 70 countries, WWF continues to play a valuable partner role, ensuring a solid foundation and support network on which to deliver a truly global environmental message throughout the year.
25. Who are the Earth Hour partners?
Earth Hour began as a WWF-led initiative in Australia in 2007 in partnership with brand co-owners, Fairfax Media and Leo Burnett. All three partners decided from the beginning, however, that expanding Earth Hour’s global reach would require working in partnership with any organization. Earth Hour’s message has spanned the world with the help of many global partners.
26. Do you have requirements or regulations about who can or cannot partner with Earth Hour?

Any partner must uphold and support the aims and principles of Earth Hour. These include encouraging individual and community engagement on environmental issues. Encouraging conscious decisions to change the way we live in order to affect environmental reform, without the use of scare tactics or shaming.
27. Does Earth Hour welcome the support of other NGOs (Non-Government Organisations) and NFP’s (Not for Profits)?
Absolutely. In fact, the success of Earth Hour would not be possible without the support of other NGOs and NFPs. Global organizations such as the World Organization of the Scout Movement and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts have been pivotal in spreading the Earth Hour message, while in some countries where there is no WWF presence, Earth Hour campaigns are orchestrated entirely by other NGOs and NFPs who share the same non-aggressive, guilt-free approach to addressing environmental issues taken by Earth Hour..
28. Are there any other social media outlets or forums for Earth Hour?
Yes, here is the most comprehensive list we have right now:
Current Earth Hour Global Social Media Profiles
Facebook Group
MySpace
Flickr Photostream
Twitter
More global profiles on additional networks are developing everyday.
29. What does the Earth Hour logo mean?
The standard Earth Hour ’60’ logo represents the 60 minutes of Earth Hour where we focus on the impact we are having on our planet and take positive action to address the environmental issues we face. For Earth Hour 2011 we have introduced the ‘60+’ logo representing a commitment to add to Earth Hour a positive act for the planet that goes beyond the hour. Please publish the logo and pass the word wherever you can and show your support for our Planet!!

20 THINGS TO DO WITH THE LIGHTS OFF!
If you are not sure how you should be celebrating Earth Hour this year, here are some helpful suggestions on what to do:

1. Invite your friends over for a earth friendly cocktail hour and candlelit dinner.
2. Get those board games out and have some game time with friends & family in the dark.
3. Lie down and star gaze. Stars are more easily seen the less lighting there is.
4. Do something “crafty” by candlelight: paint, mould, stick, knit, quilt, paint, or?
5. Got kids? Get out the camping gear! Set up a tent and tell stories of when there was no artificial lighting, how it must have been to live in that time.
6. Play a real game of hide & seek with the kids. It has to be even more of a challenge in the dark!
7. Go to sleep early! You never get enough sleep, so here is the perfect excuse to catch up on some zzz’s.
8. While the lights are off, it’s the perfect time to change any old bulbs for new energy saving ones.
9. Why not eat all the ice-cream that’s sitting in your freezer? If you’ve turned your appliances off along with lights for Earth Hour, then it’s just melting anyway!
10. Soak in a warm tub and enjoy the silence and solitude you rarely get.
11. Plant a tree to serve as the center of next year’s celebration of Earth Hour.
12. Meditate to encourage an inner peace & tranquility in your life throughout the year.
13. Exercise. You don’t need lights to workout!
14. Read a book like they did in the old days with no distractions from television.
15. Take the dog for a walk with a flashlight. You’ll both benefit from the activity.
16. Make a list of ways you and your family can carry on the commitment to be more earth friendly throughout the year.
17. Write a personal letter to a loved one. No impersonal email this time!
18. Sing around the campfire and roast some marshmallows.
19. Arrange a candlelit massage. Your eyes are closed anyway!
20. Take advantage of that dark, alone time to spend some “amorous” time with that special someone.
Or great advice is to check out your local Earth Hour site and see if there’s a place near you that will get plunged into darkness at 8.30pm on March 26th and go there to celebrate!

Let us know what you will be doing during this year’s Earth Hour, we’d love to know what creative ideas you have to share with us!

SUMMARY:
Be a part of Earth Hour 2011; add your voice and take action, encourage others to join the hundreds of millions across every continent who have already spoken as one on behalf of the planet. Together we can make a difference! For further details on how you can participate in Earth Hour plus take Earth Hour – “Beyond the Hour” refer to http://www.earthhour.org/beyondthehour or contact us at the Costa Rica Hotel Byblos Resort and Casino for more details on how we are committing to make a difference for our Planet!

Check out this inspiring Earth Hour 2011 video to see what our planet’s voice looks like. It’s an awesome power when we are work as one!!

EARTH HOUR 2011 OFFICIAL VIDEO

FLICKER PHOTO SHARE FOR EARTH HOUR 2011

AUTHOR:
Kimberly Barron, originally from Malibu, California has lived in Parismina and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica for 20 years. Starting as a certified tour guide, she spent 15 years managing fishing lodges on the Caribbean Coast and later 4* & 5* Hotels on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Currently semi-retired, Kimberly still works as the Marketing Director for Byblos Resort & Casino and Hotel Makanda by the Sea.

SOURCES:
http://www.earthhour.org
http://www.wwf.org
http://www.girlscouts.org/who_we_are/global/wagggs/
http://scout.org/